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Message 1 of 15

Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

I've had a continous struggle with ridiculously slow broadband since 2009 with the best speed I can get being 0.5mbps on a good day.  I know that I am on a fixed speed that caps at 0.5 due to limitations of the technology of the exchange.  Needless to say I've been keeping a close eye on my local exchange that I can see across the hill and had seen white vans frequenting the exchange for a long while now.  I've also been keeping an eye on the openreach website where you can enter your phone/postcode and find out what is going on - it currently states that they are "exploring solutions" for my exchange as my exchange is an Exchange Only connection.

 

Anyway, a while ago I managed to run into one of the openreach engineers as he was coming out of my local exchange and had a brief talk with him.  According to him the fiber is ALREADY installed at the exchange and they are just waiting on a few more pieces of equiptment and that it would be "soon".  I did ask him about the need for a cabinet and it being an Exchange Only line and he said that it's not a problem as there are ways around it and fiber internet will be done soon...  This was a long while ago.

 

I don't want to challenge this, but how accurate is that?  Is it now possible to have fiber connected without the need of a cabinet?  I hadn't seen them digging so how would they have gotten the fiber into the exchange?

 

I have come across telephone poles in my area that have signs stating "Caution Overhead Fiber".  This, it appears, is fiber optic cable running along the poles and I can see it clearly.  However, it originates from a town 6 miles away, running alongside train tracks, before jumping from pole to pole and then disappearing in the opposite direction from my exchange - this fiber cable is literally a half mile away from my home.

He said that is nothing to do with our exchange and that ours is getting its fiber from the other direction, which is puzzling to say the least as the location he stated is around 10 miles away.

 

I have been desperately needing modern internet and this activity has been going on for a very long time now.  Can I let myself get my hopes up with getting real internet some time soon?  What is the deal with the fiber cable on the poles that comes close to my home before running off, yet is nothing to do with my exchange?  How have they managed to get fiber into the exchange without any sign of it being done?

 

 

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Message 2 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

That fibre cable could be for a leased line, a mobile telepuone mast or some other application, just because it's there doesn't mean it can be tapped into like a water supply.

For smaller exchanges, the fibre doesn't actually go to or come from them, the fibre will go to the headend exchange, which can easily be 10's of miles away.

For EO lines, there are a number of solutions that OR currently use. The most common is line plant rearrangement which involves installing a new, often combined copper and fibre cabinet. It's usually placed in a strategic place to get the best speeds to the most customers.

The other, less common, but it's becoming more popular, especially for small clusters of properties, is FTTP which is fibre direct to your property.

What's your postcode?

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Message 3 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

I did wonder if it was some sort of Fibre On Demand type thing, but assumed that had been terminated.  The signs on the poles are stamped with a date of March of this year.  I imagine it would have been hella expensive given that it would be travelling a minimum of 4-5 miles.

 

I'm going to go on an "information probe" and play a little dumb with my questions, please bear with me.

 

Our exchange was only "upgraded" back around 2009 and it is only capable of 05.mbps from what I've discovered.  It's not even ADSL MAX or I would be getting around 6mbps right now, I think.

Without the fibre going to the exchange how are they going to be bringing faster broadband out to my area?  Will that not impact speed?  Might seem a bit silly to only upgrade my area marginally after it is already painfully slow.  I would have thought doing an overhaul would be the best bet - to kind of "future proof".  May be required as the copper lines keep getting damaged and are in a state of disrepair now (so glad I pay line rental).  Even now there is real loud crackling on the phone line again that I need to contact BT about.  Seems to happen every year when they cut the verges and gets worse with rain.

 

The engineer said that the fibre is already in the exchange and that they are just waiting on a few more pieces of equiptment.  I can't exactly remember if he implied it was already there or they had already been installed.  What would be the likely scenario for our exchange based on what he said?  If fibre was already in the exchange the whole time I've been sold 0.5mbps I'm going to be more than a little irritated.

I do remember seeing what looked like an Open Reach van on the road for our exchange with a large spool on a trailer behind it.  Wether that is anything to do with laying fibre for the exchange is unknown.

 

FTTP would be incredible and I would so love to get it.  Honestly can't see them doing it, though.

 

Postcode is AB55 5JJ

Local exchange is NSDMR

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Message 4 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

your exchange has got ADSL MAX a fibre connection can travel miles there is no need to install equipment in very small exchanges it is most likely to be FTTP when installed
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Message 5 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

As I mentioned above, if they go down the route of installing a cabinet (usually combined copper and fibre) whilst the copper will go back to the exchange you're currently connected to, the fibre will be linked into the fibre network via an aggregation node, which will terminate at a larger exchange in a town or city. This could potentially be many, many miles away, and wouldn't impact speed as fibre is capable of carrying many GB/s without any speed degredation.

I'll be honest, I've never seen something like this before. BT Wholesale doesn't give any speed estimates for any of the properties in your postcode and there's nothing online about the postcodes the exchange serves (it only serves about 165 lines in total, it can't be any bigger than a shed!)

Whilst the engineer said fibre has been brought to the exchange, he likely means the exchange area, and I agree, it's more likely to be FTTP, but I don't know for sure.

Have you tried contacting hidigital@hient.co.uk ?

That's the highlands and islands enterprise who are dealing with the roll out ik Scotland.

The information on their site is vague and just says that fibre will be coming to the exchange by June 2018 but, it could be earlier than that. Probably the best way to find information is to speak to any engineers you see working on the fibre cabling.
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Message 6 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

FYI @john46 the exchange doesn't have ADSLMAX. It's one of the few exchanges still using exchange activate which is a 20CN service with a max speed of 512kbps.

As far as I know, Wholesale plan to have 21cn in every exchange by the end of this year, which could be one reason for the fibre cabling being brought to the exchange, as the 21CN kit would need it in order to provide the faster speeds to end users from the MSAN.
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Message 7 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

You're right about the size of the exchange lol It's slightly smaller than a small-sized medium shed.

 

Yeah, the details of my exchange are sketchy at best.  Most of what I have managed to uncover is mainly incorrect - I don't get what the deal is with all that.  It's some really bad record keeping.  But it's safe to assume that I've been pretty much forgotten about until they decided they were bored.

 

I'm glad you were able to confirm that my exchange only supports the 512kbps speeds.  It's been a real headache trying to convince people about that, both on and off the forums, when dealing with any technical side of things, as I remember.  Nobody seems to believe that 0.5mbps is all I get as that is impossible to use...and they are not wrong.

 

When the engineer said that fibre was already in the exchange, he turned to the open door of the exchange and pointed to it, stating that it's already IN the exchange.  Just "waiting on the last few pieces of equiptment".  Maybe he was being generally broad or vague, I don't know.  Maybe felt he wasn't supposed to be talking to me about it as Open Reach don't deal with the customers or whatever it is BT kept telling me.

 

I tend to not believe ANYTHING that is said about fibre coming on "blah blah date".  For the past 5 years it has kept saying "coming December 2013".  Then changed to "coming December 2014", etc, etc.  They have kept moving the date and it has meant I have been unable to benefit from the "Better Broadband" scheme as they state I am unelligible since I'll be getting fibre "within 6 months".  Been 5 years now...

 

Their goal is to have every exchange on a minimum of 21CN tech by the end of the year?

So it's quite likely that they are only aiming to do that and I'll only benefit from the inrease of speed based on the limitations AFTER 21CN is installed?  While that would be a nice jump in speed (though ANYTHING would be a nice jump in speed) it is still far below what would make broadband useable in the "media rich and bandwidth heavy internet of today".  Given just a few short years I'll be back to square one.

 

Assuming that they will be building a cabinet, how close would a cabinet need to be to the exchange?  And what kind of speeds could I expect with that? -I know this is a highly dependent question, but if there are resources I could use to have a look, then that would be great.

I'm not sure what the status of building a cabinet could be, but there was one person during one time, involving one specific conversation regarding one specific thing on the phone (I'm being vague on purpose) who said that the large delay in such a thing can be heavily attributed to a-holes in the area opposing the planning permission.

Is there any place I can look to see if planning permission has been submitted for building a cabinet for fibre?

 

I haven't contacted the Highlands and Islands Enterprise as I didn't know I could and didn't know the contact info, until now.  Thank you for that!  I'll be dropping them an email real soon.

 

Given the info at hand, what would be the most likely outcome for me?  Dare I hope for FTTP?

 

Thanks for you highly informative replies, Webby!

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Message 8 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

Apologies, it's the end of 2018 is the target date for 21CN.

The fibre "in" the exchange is, for the moment, likely to be for that right now.

With regards to cabinets, as I said, the fibre won't likely come from your exchange, so the distance from the exchange is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is the distance you (and your copper line) is from the cabinet. About 3km is the absolute limit to get any sort of service.

It's for this reason looking at how small your exchange is and how spread out the properties are, it would imagine it's more cost effective to provide FTTP. That's just my opinion though, not Openreach's!

For the most part, planning permission isn't needed for cabinets, unless they're needing to place them in conservation areas. Here in England we use roadworks.org but I'm don't think it works for Scotland. There may be an equivalent however, until your confirmed to be getting FTTC and the tracker is at "build" there wouldn't be a permit submitted to the council until a few weeks before the work is due to start.

I'd certainly get in touch with the highlands and islands and see what, if any plans they have.
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Message 9 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

I could be in for another couple of years then... That's just wonderful lol Ugh

 

I've fired off an email to HIE asking for details.  I'll post back here if I ever get a reply.

 

I know that my line is under 3KM, maybe just barely.  It takes the scenic route, I know that much lol  I seem to recall it being in the region of 2.9km or less.

 

Hopefully, just HOPEFULLY, I'll get FTTP.  It would make sense since it would future proof and be most ideal all round.  But as you said, Open Reach may have completely different views - they have so far for my area.

 

Big thanks again, Webby.

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Message 10 of 15

Re: Fiber installed to exchange without cabinet?

No decent mobile signal either I assume?
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